You can see it in their eyes. The people who lost their homes are always easy to spot. They look tired and are often covered in that layer of sheet rock dust that is becoming so familiar. They look stressed and hopeless or strong and hopeful, depending on the day or hour or moment.
It was a Thursday morning when I got the email asking me to pray about leading a different trip. There was a need for an extra leader and one of the Albania leaders needed to switch.
In February of 2014, my team and I first landed in Albania after five months in Asia. And everything was different. The people, the food, the language, none of it was like the familiar things I had grown accustomed too while living in Asia for so long.
Let me be honest, 2015 was tough. So I was more than happy to ring in the new year, full of hope for better things to come.
One of my dear friends Allison lives in California and I have been wanting to visit her for a while. Since I had some time off around Christmas, I decided to spend New Years with her. Allison planned a trip to San Francisco for us since it had been a while since she had been to the city, and I am so glad she did.
This past summer I spent a month in Guatemala leading a mission trip of high school students. Toward the end of the month, one of our students fell at the beach and dislocated her knee. She was in excruciating pain and could not put any pressure on her leg for several days.
“I promise I will never procrastinate again for as long as I live.” This is the promise I made to myself as I gulped down a fresh cup of nearly black coffee while sitting at IHOP in the middle of the night writing case briefs for my Media Law class.
It started in China. I was on a city bus with my team, early in the morning, on the way to the train station to travel back to Beijing. It was chilly outside so I had on my jacket and a long sleeved shirt and I had my too heavy pack strapped on my body. I was standing on the bus when I started to feel desperately warm.
The past two and a half weeks have been the most incredible and challenging weeks I have had in a long time. I went from being empty and broken to filled and healed. I traveled to beautiful Guatemala with twenty-two high school students and two co-leaders. I spent days listening and loving the students as they experienced missions for the first time. I spent hours and hours in the hospital crying and praying over a very ill student.
There are only a few moments in my life this far where I have been truly terrified. Standing on a ledge over one of the tallest buildings in downtown Baton Rouge and hooked to a rope I was about to repel down is definitely one of those moments.
I am preparing once again to pull out my passport and travel to a new country. Packing has not always been my favorite activity, but after traveling the world for 11 months and packing and re-packing my backpack over and over, I have picked up a few tricks. (more…)